The great civil rights leader and pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is famously quoted to have said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
As we all look around our community, our nation, and our world, we see chaos. There is tension and concern surrounding race, injustice, politics, terrorism, and the uncertainty of the future. It can be easy to fear, lose heart, and feel hopeless. These feelings don’t simply exist in some existential place, but are real, tangible, and concerning.
I know that the media, social and otherwise, is demanding you take a side - that you villainize a race, a people group, or some political candidate. My encouragement to you is that you do not need to conform to the pattern of this world, but you can allow yourself to stand, transformed by God himself (Rom 12:2), for something completely different; something the world fears. The only thing that destroys all prejudice and hate.
Foundation Church, I implore you to stand for the gospel. To stand for truth. To stand for the love of God in a world that hates the light of God’s love.
The Bible provides the true story of the entire world, and although it does not give us every detail of all things, it does give us what we need. It tells us that although God created all things and all things were declared Very Good (Gen 1:31), human rebellion led to sin and brokenness infecting and affecting everything. This includes race relations, unjust acts, broken human governments, and our ability to have confidence in the brightness of the future.
But, our hope is not in the sinful brokenness of the world. Just as God promised, even though the serpent would inflict a wound on God himself, he would ultimately be crushed by the one God would send to make all things right again (Gen 3:15).
Even though it might seem like things are getting darker all around us, like the world is literally unraveling before our eyes, for those of us who trust in Christ, we stand in the most secure place on earth. A place where our future-hope is secure in God’s past action through Christ’s perfect life, death, burial, and resurrection.
Paul writes to his son in the faith, Timothy:
“God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his...” - 2 Timothy 2:19
We are sealed by God’s Holy Spirit for a secure future with God in his Kingdom - a place free from sin, death, brokenness and all that causes us to fear in this world.
In the time in-between, as we eagerly await this full consummation of God’s Kingdom, we get to live as those who bring the good news of hope through Jesus.
Unrighteous anger, taking sides, hopelessness, hate, and prejudice are all adjectives that should never be used to describe the Christian, but are all things God has called us to confront with his grace and peace through the good news of Jesus in word and deed.
Might we stand firm and trust in Christ in these times of challenge and controversy for the hope of the Kingdom of God that can only be found in Jesus.
I close with the words of Paul to the Roman church:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:1-2
May God bless you all richly,